All has not been as quiet as you think at the Basin over the winter. Whilst the centre has been closed and the car park empty there has been a team of volunteer rangers digging, hammering, sawing and chasing amongst other things, to make sure that the reserve is kept in good shape and ready for the spring and summer months once again.
Along with the two full-time rangers this team of 5 volunteers has been carrying out a range of tasks, including, swan re-locating, building new fences in the visitor centre grounds and creating a new wildflower demonstration garden. One of the main duties undertaken by the team has been to cover the days off taken by the member of staff employed by the swan management team. The team have been taking it in turn to work on the fields at the western end of the reserve, maintaining a presence throughout the day to help re-locate any swans that land on the fields and start feeding on the crops. This work ensures minimal damage and loss of yield to the farmer’s crops throughout the winter months (see blog December 29thfor full details).
They have also been working on a new fence and handrail on the path leading down to the Bank of Scotland Hide. The hand rail has replaced the old screen that was at the side of the path, initially erected to screen any visitors from the birds in the salt pans, which would be spooked by them and fly off. But now that the trees in the area have grown they provide natural screening, meaning our screen was no longer needed and could be replaced by a much ‘handier’ hand rail.
The wildflower demonstration area has been constructed to replace the old wildflower garden just in front of the centre entrance. The idea behind this is that it will be much easier to maintain and will showcase the chosen wildflowers in neat, individual areas. Although all that the area is currently demonstrating is a lovely pile of gravel, it will be looking much nicer over the spring and summer months!
So keep an eye out for our new work next time you come down to the centre!
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.